Corteva Agriscience forms agreement with Ginkgo Bioworks to bolster crop protection technologies

Agreement will pair Ginkgo’s synthetic biology platform with Corteva’s crop protection technologies.

Corteva Agriscience and Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc., have entered into a multiyear agreement to leverage synthetic biology in order to design crop protection technologies. This collaboration combines Corteva’s knowledge of natural product discovery and agricultural expertise with Ginkgo’s extensive cell engineering platform and DNA codebase, say company officials. This will enable the firms to explore the next generation of naturally inspired sustainable solutions, say company officials. Ultimately, company officials say this collaboration aims to provide farmers with new solutions to combat invasive pests and evolving resistance challenges. 

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 20% to 40% of global crop production is lost to pests annually. Consequently, plant diseases and invasive insects/weeds cost the global economy billions of dollars. 

Novel natural products and their inspired analogs have tremendous potential to provide sustainable options for farmers to protect crop yield. By working with Ginkgo, Corteva will accelerate the discovery and optimization of complex natural products through synthetic biology, say company officials. 

“Sustainable food and agriculture systems are critical to the growing population,” said Sam Eathington, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Corteva Agriscience, in a news release. “As leaders in natural product development, we are committed to solving the challenges facing farmers sustainably through innovation. We are excited to collaborate with Ginkgo Bioworks to discover, optimize, and scale groundbreaking, naturally inspired crop protection solutions.”

Companies across numerous industries use Ginkgo’s cell programming platform to find better, more sustainable ways to create products, including food ingredients, fragrances, cosmetics, medicines, and more. By enabling the design of organisms that can produce valuable biological products, Ginkgo helps accelerate the development of innovative, bio-based solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, say company officials. 

“At Ginkgo, we fundamentally believe that biology is the best technology on the planet because it can move more rapidly and efficiently than traditional approaches with less impact on the environment,” said Jason Kelly, Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc., CEO in a news release. “Food loss is a significant issue impacting so many communities around the world, and we’re excited to see what Ginkgo and Corteva can accomplish together to advance novel, environmentally sustainable, biological solutions to protect crops around the world.”

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